Compostable Garment Bags Offer Sustainable Wins for Dry Cleaners

September 1, 2019

Compostable garment bags are now available to help dry cleaners significantly reduce single-use plastic.

Launched in August by This Bag, the new EcoClear™ home compostable garment bags have been specifically developed to provide a functional eco-friendly alternative to traditional plastic garment bags.

This Bag Director Tina Thomas says, “We have worked very hard to develop a compostable option that can be easily adopted by dry cleaning businesses with minimal modifications needed to their back of house processes or handling.”

There are currently 125 dry cleaners in New Zealand each using an estimated 40kgs of garment bag film each month.

Tina says, “Our goal was to find a product that would help reduce the tons of non-recyclable plastic that goes to landfill each year from this industry. We did our own home compost trial with EcoClear™ and the results were outstanding. The bag was 95% gone within six weeks, and that was in the middle of winter!”

This Bag worked very closely with New Zealand’s largest dry cleaning distributor BOWE NZ Ltd to ensure the garment bags will work well for the industry. BOWE are now the exclusive New Zealand distributors of EcoClear™ garment bags.

BOWE Sales Executive Angela Gordon says, “We are having more conversations with our customers around sustainable practices and up until now there hadn’t been a bio-appropriate solution. Bringing the compostable film on board was an easy decision for us. It was important to offer an earth friendly alternative, without needing to change any of the in-house processes or the functionality of the bag.”

During its development, the EcoClear™ garment bags were trialled by Findlays Drycleaners in Pukekohe.

Owner, Shane McLennan was prompted to embrace the EcoClear™ garment bags after receiving some clear feedback from his customers that they didn’t like the amount of plastic used in his business.

Shane says, “We had some customers ripping the plastic bag off their dry cleaning and essentially throwing it back at us saying, `we don’t want this’.  So we thought if customers were starting to react like that then we needed to cater for them, and we saw EcoClear™ as a great alternative.”

Shane surveyed his customers to find out if they would be prepared to pay a little bit more for higher priced packaging that had a positive impact on the environment and the response was an overwhelming `YES’. He has since raised the price slightly on selected speciality items to help cover the extra costs, and his business hasn’t looked back.

EcoClear™ is manufactured in New Zealand by Convex from a mix of compostable materials that have been certified to meet the European and Australian home compostable standards, OK Compost Home and AS5810.

The development of EcoClear™ is one of several initiatives that Convex is driving to reduce landfill waste.

Convex Managing Director Owen Embling says, “Compostable garment bags have the potential to divert a lot of plastic from landfill and will enable dry cleaners to meet the growing demands from consumers to move away from single-use plastic. It is very pleasing to see businesses like Findlays Drycleaners prepared to take the moral high ground to pioneer sustainable change in their industry.”

Convex offers a composting service to dry cleaning businesses and customers who are not able to compost their own bags.

Owen says, “We take the chain of custody for every pack we make very seriously and will do what we can to work with our customers to do the best that we can for our planet.”

EcoClear™ garment bags are available in New Zealand from BOWE, and will soon be available from a leading industry supplier in Australia.